BACK IN TIME Edition 64

1965 Chevy Nova

Article & Photographs: Jared Govender

Chevy enthusiasts the world over will probably agree that the Nova’s las hurrah in the late ‘80s left very little to be proud of. The somewhat disappointing fifth and final generation was based on a 4-cylinder front-wheel drive Toyota Sprinter, but the fact that it sported a Nova badge did not mean that it embodied what Chevy originally envisioned for the Nova when it was first created in the ‘60s. the early models were marketed as simple, compact sedans that were affordable to the man on the street and this also made them a common choice as US government official vehicles. But the Nova was also available with a factory-fitted 5.4L V8 lump from the Corvette and this, combined with the extremely lightweight body, made the first three generations of the Nova a massive hit amongst drag racers during those years and indeed with racers of today, as can be seen in the ever popular TV series Street Outlaws. 

The early Novas are now highly collectable amongst Chevy purists and quite rare as well. Devin Galtrey was fortunate enough to acquire his Nova from his great-uncle Des who purchased the car new in 1965. The Nova was great sentimental value to their family as it was used by Des to drive Devin’s father around (who was a drummer in the band) and his brothers from gig to gig with a full drum kit in tow. Fast-forward five decades and the Nova was ready for some much-needed TLC. Devin always had a soft spot for the Nova and saw the potential in it. 

But his great-uncle Des put up quite a fight and it took two years of negotiating before he agreed to hand over the keys to Devin so that he could proceed with a full restoration. 

Now that he had the go-ahead to bring the Nova back to its former glory. Devin set about finding the right team to assist with the build. After consulting a friend, he was put in touch with Brad Lightening and Greg Talbot from Speedway Auto and the rest is history. After brainstorming about what the end project would be, Speedway set about getting a Chevy small block 350 engine prepared, which would replace the old straight-six while the body was being stripped down to bare metal by Dane and Gordon Thompson over at The Panel and Paint Shop. They equipped the lump with Edelbrock Performance E-Street cylinder heads and Performance-Plus camshafts and also ordered a set of 17-inch American Racing Nova wheels form the US which, coincidentally, were not specifically made from the Chevy Nova. Initially they had ordered a full black set but received a machined silver set instead, but before sending it back they decided to test fit it to the car and once they saw what it looked like, they agreed that it suited the car perfectly. The braking system and suspension was also upgraded using a whole host of Classic Performance Products, Inc products. 

The colour that was chosen is Range Rover Evoque white and it accentuates the sleek lines of the Nova beautifully. Overall, the look is quite clean and classic, exactly what Devin was going for. Instead of shiny chrome grilles and bumpers, everything has been colour-coded to match the white and black theme of the car. The interior also carries the same spartan look with the bench seats and door pads reupholstered in black leather to perfection by Seelan from Custom Auto Care And General. You will also find a Quicksilver gear shift along with a Dakota Digital dash with a modern speedo cluster that sits behind a chunky Lecarra steering wheel that finishes off the interior in style. 

Devin wanted something that would look good for many years to come; something that is not overdone, yet stylish. The package as a whole proves that you do not need to shout in order to be heard and that sometimes, less is more. But don’t let this car’s understated demeanor fool you. This super-sleeper definitely has the bite to go along with its loud bark. 


OWNER:          Devin Galtrey

LOCATION:      Durban

MAKE:             1965 Chevy Nova

BUILDER:         Speedway Auto

ENGINE:          Small block Chevy 350, Edelbrock E-Street cylinder heads and Performance-Plus camshafts         

TRANNY:         TH350 auto shift kit

SUSPENSION:  Classic Performance Products

WHEELS:         American Racing Nova 17-inch

BRAKES:          Classic Performance Products

INTERIOR:       Dakota dash, Lecarra steering wheel, Quicksilver gear shift

COLOUR:         Range Rover Evoque white

PAINTER:         The Paint & Panel Shop